I have spent the week at Summer School studying the Gospel and Western culture, we have looked at art, literature, music, film and popular culture in their myriad expressions. With that in mind I bring you the cultural Friday 5.
Where to start? Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings...with the exception of Heinlein, all books I re-read at least every couple of years. Ben wants to write a Bible study based on To Kill a Mockingbird.
2. Piece of music
Most anything by Chris Rice or Rich Mullins, and some of what we're using in the new evening service. Robin Mark's "When It's All Been Said and Done," for example: When it's all been said and done, there is just one thing that matters. Did I do my best to live for truth, did I live my life for you? Lord, your mercy is so great that you look beyond our weakness and find purest gold in miry clay, making sinners into saints."
3. Work of art
I collect NC pottery, mostly "utility ware": beautiful things for everyday use. The mundane and sublime, with pleasing shapes and weight in the hand, colors and textures to charm and inspire, and then put to such ordinary and sacred work as bearing food.
Wow, there's so much. "Rent", most anything with John Cusack in it, "Enemy Mine", "Like Water for Chocolate" or "A Walk in the Clouds" or other by Alfonso Arau, who I met in college when he watched "Como agua para chocolate" for one of my classes.
Oh, wait, you said culture.
5. Unusual engagement with popular culture
I like to watch NASCAR Nextel Cup races, or at least the standings, since the races usually fall squarely during my Sunday naps or worship team practice. A little football (Washington Redskins) and hockey, although hockey's so much better in person. I also avidly follow the "Ikeahacker" blog, and long for the day when Swedish flatpack goodness is easier for me to obtain. Oh, and I crochet.
That have helped/ challenged you on your spiritual journey.
Bonus: Is engagement essential to your Christian faith, how and why?
I believe that the essence of our faith is relationship: that which God desires to have with us, made accessible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and nurtured in us by the Holy Spirit. I think the gift of Christian community is that in it, like in marriage, God makes us better together than we are apart. Our joys are shared, our burdens lightened, and someone to believe in and for us when we are unable, so that together we may all share the gifts God gives us. That's brief and a little cryptic, but I think I could literally write a book...